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BELL APPEAL. (09/11/58)

September 11, 1958

BELL APPEAL.


Appeals, Nos. 109, 110, and 111, April T., 1958, from orders of County Court of Allegheny County, Nos. A1525, A1526, and A1529 of 1957, in re petitions of Joseph Bell, George E. Tarr, and William Killeen to appeal from the decisions of the Civil Service Commission of the City of Pittsburgh. Orders reversed.

COUNSEL

T. Robert Brennan and Louis C. Glasso, with them Brennan and Brennan, for appellants.

J. Frank McKenna, Jr., City Solicitor, with him Charles N. Caputo, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Hirt

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 102]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

Joseph Bell, George E. Tarr and William Killeen, in various capacities, were members of the police department of the City of Pittsburgh, assigned to service out of police station number one in Pittsburgh. They were tried by a police trial court (in accordance with § 7 of the Act of August 10, 1951, P.L. 1189, 53 PS § 23537) in substance, on charges of neglect of duty and of unbecoming official conduct. This so-called "Court of Trial or Inquiry" found that the charges were sustained and its decision, affirmed by the Mayor of Pittsburgh, authorized the Director of Public Safety to dismiss all of them from the service. Thereupon in accordance with § 8 of the Act, the three appealed to the Civil Service Commission of the City of Pittsburgh, and when the decision of dismissal was affirmed by the

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 103]

    commission, further appeals were taken to the lower court. After hearing the charges de novo, the court sustained the decisions of the commission thus affirming the action of the police trial court dismissing the police officers from the service. Since all of the charges arose from interrelated facts we will dispose of the three present appeals in this one opinion.

William Killeen was a foot patrolman on a beat covering about ten city blocks in downtown Pittsburgh. About 2 a.m. on July 3, 1957, a civilian, who later was booked as Joseph Moro, accosted this officer near the Market House on Diamond Street. Killeen testified that the man had been drinking and that he was belligerent and obscene in his language, when he complained to Killeen that his automobile had been stolen. Killeen arrested him for disorderly conduct and, in taking him to the call box about a block away, to summon the wagon, struck him with his night stick. The prisoner was wounded in the forehead either as a result of the blow or from falling against the brick wall of the Market House. As the patrol wagon pulled up, appellant Joseph Bell appeared on the scene. He was the acting lieutenant assigned to supervision of all the policemen patrolling the beat covered by Killeen. Tarr was standing nearby but took no part in the arrest. Bell helped the prisoner into the wagon. Police officer Thomas Foley was the driver of the patrol wagon and E. J. Mocieka was an officer who was detailed to service with him. Killeen remained on his beat, but Bell with the two wagonmen went to Allegheny General Hospital with the prisoner and they remained with him until after his wound was dressed and until he was delivered to the turnkey at number one police station. Killeen had not inquired as to the identity of the man whom he had arrested. He testified in effect that when an injured prisoner needs treatment

[ 187 Pa. Super. Page 104]

    at a hospital it is the usual practice for the wagonmen, and the police officers who subsequently have him in charge, to ascertain who he is. At the hospital the prisoner gave his name as Joseph Moro and at the police station the desk sergeant prepared a Police Special Report on which the name Joseph Moro, taken from the "Aided Case Report of the Hospital", appeared. Bell signed the report along with the desk sergeant and the prisoner was booked as Joseph Moro. He was released however when he posted $10 cash bail for his appearance at a hearing. This was forfeited later when he failed to appear at the appointed time.

As early as July 9, 1957, within six days after the arrest, it was known for a certainty that the Joseph Moro, who had been taken into custody by Killeen, in reality was ...


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